Vice President Pence Interview with Politico CSPAN October 30, 2018 8:03pm-8:47pm EDT
announcer: c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television company. and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington dc and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. announcer: coming up next on aspan, from earlier today, conversation with vice president mike pence about the trump administration and next week's midterm elections.
that is followed by a look at key congressional races in new york this election cycle. joe biden campaigns in iowa on behalf of u.s. house candidate fred hubbell who was running for governor. during an interview with politico, vice president pence was asked about the idea of ending birthright citizenship, as suggested by president trump. other questions had to do with the economy, the midterm elections, and the trump administration's space force proposal. this is 40 minutes. jake: thank you maryland, and thank you again to lockheed martin for making this conversation possible.
before getting started, we want to remind everybody that i have an ipad and i know how to use it. tweet me at #playbookinterview and i will track the questions here on stage. without further delay, please join me in welcoming to the playbook stage, vice president mike pence. [applause] anna: thank you so much for taking the time. you are a busy man these days. but let's get started. jake: i want to get started with the tragic shooting in pittsburgh over the weekend. i wonder what you think is behind this hate, and whether you see -- where you see culpability kind of across the spectrum in this country? vp pence: jake, first, thank you for having me here. i want to thank lockheed martin for hosting this event. and thank you both for the invitation. you know, i think the hearts of every american are heavy today with the terrible attack that took place saturday morning. at a jewish synagogue in pittsburgh.
the president and first lady will be in pittsburgh today. in this country, we will mourn with those who mourn, we grieve with those who grieve. the president will be there and i know people all across the country will be there in their hearts. we have made it clear. this was not just a criminal act. this was evil. and we will not let violence or anti-semitism take hold and the -- in the united states of america. we will condemn it wherever it rears its ugly head. we will also bring to justice the individual involved here, and our federal prosecutors have ensured that justice will be swift and severe. i think as we go forward, it is important that we hold those accountable that are responsible for the acts. and in this case, this deranged individual, or the individual in florida who was sending pipe
bombs that were sent to the obamas, the clintons, to cnn, and other public figures, i think it is very important that we focus on holding those accountable to the fullest extent of the law that engage in these types of activities, while at the same time, we preserve the very freedoms that are the fabric of our nation, the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, and our administration, the president i, we ared committed to doing just that. anna: senate majority leader mitch mcconnell said yesterday in louisville, collectively, it seems to me we need to turn down the temperature. we need to turn the tone down. freedom of speech, of course, but do you agree with that, that the tone needs to change? vp pence: look, everyone has their own style. and there is strong rhetoric on both sides of the aisle. but i honestly think it is
important that we continue to celebrate and debate the important issues that our country is facing. one week from today, the american people will gather for critical midterm elections. and we welcome a good and vigorous debate on everything from national security to economic growth and jobs, to health care, to our courts, and i think that debate should go forward. but yes, do i believe that making sure that we communicate those things in a substantive way is important? but i never want to tell anyone, in a public debate, that you cannot express yourself from your heart and the way that is important to you, and in the way that communicates with people. and again, i think it is important that we don't connect the evil acts that we have
witnessed in pittsburgh, with that horrible attack on a synagogue, or the sending of threats of violence and devices through the mail to public figures. it is important that we do not connect those acts to the public debate. we have always had a vigorous public debate in america and i think we always should have a vigorous public debate. but at the same time, we should hold people accountable who violate our laws. jake: in an interview that came up yesterday, the president says he might use executive orders, his sole authority to eliminate the principle of birthright citizenship, which means if someone is born here, they become a citizen. legal scholars think this is a pretty open and closed constitutional issue. what would be the
administration's argument that the president can do this unilaterally? vp pence: let's recognize we have a crisis on our southern border, and while this migrant caravan that is coming north has been a source of great concern for millions of americans, i hear it everywhere i go as i travel across the country. the truth is that we have more then 1000 people attempting to come in to our country every day. and president trump, from our campaign in 2016 and everyday since, has been calling on congress and taking the action that is available to stem this tide of illegal immigration. and one of the things the president articulated on the campaign trail two years ago was that we want to look in the broadest way possible about an american law that may be used as a magnet to draw people into our country. some of those loopholes are like catch and release. some of those loopholes are in other categories, things that human traffickers actually use to entice vulnerable families to make the long and dangerous trip
north of the peninsula, often at great risk to themselves, and frankly, birthright citizenship is a part of that. and what i think the president has made clear is that we are looking at action that would reconsider birthright citizenship. we all know what the 14th amendment says. we all cherish the language of the 14th amendment. but the supreme court of the united states has never ruled on whether the language of the 14th amendment applies specifically to people who are in the country illegally, and i think the president is looking at executive action. i know that congress has look at legislative action to reconsider that, but our broad objective here is, we need to fix a broken immigration system that is being used by people who literally are exploiting vulnerable people, enticing them to make this long journey north to our border in the hopes of coming into our country illegally, and we need
to have a system where people know how to come into the united states legally. and we want a system that works of the american people first. and it is working in an orderly way, like it worked for my grandfather when he came through ellis island. the system is not working today, and we have to reform it. jake: that is drastic action for the president to do that unilaterally. the president doing it by himself. vp pence: i will leave that to the president to announce whatever actions we will take. yesterday, the president made the decision that we are deploying 5200 troops to the southern border. we will have the troops there to support border control agencies the caravan continues to move north, and as the crisis of immigration on the southern border continues. but in terms of changes in the law and executive action, i don't want to get ahead of the president, but you can look back
at that famous speech in phoenix he gave about immigration reform, and he talked about us taking on this issue in a way that we can have a debate about having an immigration system in america that is working, that is working for the american people first, and that includes re-examining this whole issue of birth right citizenship. anna: about those troops going down to the border, a lot of critics of the administration are out saying, this is just a ploy for the election to dramatically make people scared. to get republicans jazzed up about the midterms. do you buy into that? is this just an election ploy? vp pence: anna, it is not. the caravan that is making its way north was organized in honduras, according to what the president of honduras told me. it is organized by left-wing groups, political organizations within honduras and likely financed in part by venezuela, and people brought together,
many vulnerable families, including elderly, families with children, for the purpose of coming up to the border of the united states, to come in to our country illegally. that's the objective here. it was -- whatever the motivation of many people in the caravan, and we happen to know there are people with serious criminal histories in the caravan. we have been told by law enforcement that there are individuals from the middle east in the caravan. the simple fact is that human traffickers and political leftist organizations in central america are driving this forward. that started weeks ago. it is a source of great concern to millions of americans. i have been traveling like the president has all over the country, and i can tell you, being out among the american people, there is great concern, great alarm among many of americans to see this vast throng of people coming to the country illegally, and the president is determined that we have the manpower at the border
to provide the support as appropriate to the border patrol, to continue to harden our border, to ensure that the people that are applying into our country are doing so under ports of entry and under the color of law. jake: let's shift to the midterms. history would tell us, and i know the white house, you have said before, we know what the president thinks of political wisdom. vp pence: conventional wisdom. jake: conventional wisdom. right. history tells us that you guys will lose the house of representatives based on a wealth of history. i am curious, what are you doing in the last week or so, a week from today, to prevent that from happening? vp pence: the president and i will be on the road almost continuously in between now and election day. jake: give us a sense of your schedule. you can pull out a cheat sheet. vp pence: pretty busy. we will be in georgia, indiana, tennessee, florida, south dakota, north dakota, montana,
and that is just the ones on the top of my mind. look, you rightly quoted me. i said a while back that conventional wisdom says that for the party in the white house, it is hard to hold your majorities in your first midterm election, but i think we know what president trump conventional wisdom, right? we threw out the playbook and 2016, and he really believes that with a growing economy, with the progress we have made with our agenda, i mean, think about it. unemployment is at a 50 year low, record unemployment for african-americans and hispanic americans. the lowest level ever recorded. 4.2 million new jobs, and record of delivering for the american people on national defense, on our courts, on tax cuts, on regulatory reform. we think we have a great story to tell and the president decided early on this year we would do everything in our power to support the republican majorities and tell that story. and friendly, i see it connecting.
we understand what the historical tides are, but i got to tell you, i feel like that blue wave is going to hit a red wall come next tuesday. only time will tell. anna: if you think about that, though, you are talking about your closing message, what you were giving, that strong argument that you are making. beto o'rourke is within five points of ted cruz. what is closing the gap in some races? vp pence: look, i don't discount the impact of tens of millions of dollars into a senate race. i mean, it is a staggering amount of money that democrats have raised all over the country this year. more power to them. it is a free country. our team has been working to do the very same thing, to make sure our candidates have the resources to be able to tell
their story. but look, ted cruz has been delivering for the people of texas. he really has. the way he has worked so closely with this president after the primary is a great credit to him. from early in this administration, ted cruz has been there, standing with his president, taking the tough regulatorycuts, reform, rebuilding our military, and with lockheed martin here, i am proud to say that ted cruz has been a leader on space. and the president has basically renewed american's commitment to space exploration. ted cruz has partnered with us from the state of texas, the home to the houston space center, and he has been a leader on that. so that is why i think ted cruz is winning and will win that race. but make no mistake about it, when you see some of these races that are unexpectedly close, anna, i do think some of that is the historical trends that come from these first midterm elections, the fact that our
team is doing so well in so many areas -- you look at the race in missouri, montana, north dakota, indiana, west virginia -- i am excited about the next week. i'm excited because we had great men and women running, but i'm excited because we have a great story to tell. it is a record of results. and theirs is a record of resistance. and we think the american people will vote for more results come november 6. jake: you mentioned west virginia and indiana. it's notable those are states that you and the president won handily represented by democrats. republicans have not been able to put those democrats away. especially in west virginia where joe manchin holds anywhere from a 10 to 15 point lead over the republican. i'm curious what you chalk that up to. vp pence: i have heard that race is close right now in west virginia. and my wife karen was just there campaigning not long ago. we will be back there before too long. patrick morrissey is running a
great campaign, he has been a great attorney general and has a is aligned completely with the agenda that west virginia voted overwhelmingly for in making president trump the 45th president. in the state of indiana, i love the hoosier state. we have a long tradition of bipartisanship in the state, but again, mike braun has run a great campaign. he came out of a competitive primary, but he has pulled the party together and has support from independents and frankly, support from many democrats who voted again overwhelmingly in 2016 for this president and this team. this is very much the message we are carrying everywhere across the country. is that particularly in the states that voted for the president, voted for our administration, is to say that we have been able to do this much so far, and we think we are just getting started.
if we had more partners and greater support in the house and the senate, we really do believe that we have only just begun. anna: i want to ask you about women and where republicans are with women. it's been one of the biggest issues in the campaign cycle this year. some polls have two thirds of women giving the republican party an unfavorable rating, particularly suburban women. how do you explain that? vp pence: i gave up a long time ago trying to explain polls. virtually every poll this time two years ago said we were going to lose. i didn't believe them then. look, the president won a majority of women if memory serves in 2016. and i think it's because he spoke to the issues that women and men cared most about. safety and security at home and abroad. a growing economy, opportunities in the workplace. unemployment for women is now at
a 65 year low in the united states. we have been advancing policies that we believe are going to broaden opportunities for women in the workplace, but that is a message that we will continue to get out, not only through november 6, but over the next two years, and i have to tell you, as a travel around the country, last night in grand rapids, michigan, i would say the crowd was an even lineup. we will continue to carry the message of the results we have been delivering on the issues people care most about. jake: i remember when i covered to when you were in the house minority in 2008, 2009, 2010, that was a pretty bad time for republicans in the house. i'm curious whether you think, is the administration prepared to have a democratic majority on capitol hill? vp pence: when i'm out on the road, i remind people is that i
-- before you were a big deal politico. jake: before i had gray hair. vp pence: i tell people, i was there the last time nancy pelosi was speaker of the house and you don't ever want to have that happen again. instead of increasing military spending, they were cutting military spending. instead of cutting taxes, they were increasing taxes. they were growing government. they tried to do cap and trade. they passed obamacare. causing premiums to skyrocket and choices to decline. it was a tough time not politically, but a tough time for the country, and i really do believe that that message is resonating with people all across america. and it is making the point. we know the historical trends. for every first midterm election that there has been a republican in the white house, for the last
hundred years it has been tough except for two of them. i think this is going to be the exception again. i really believe that, because people looking at the results, looking at the record, looking at the contrast of a party. i read some democrat commentators who are writing. the democrats really have no agenda except resistance. no agenda except obstruction, and our agenda is growth, jobs, it's security, it is principled men and women on our courts at every level. i think the american people see those results and they will say yes. anna: talk about that. if democrats are in the majority, or even a minority, what are one or two things you can actually work together on? we've been on the campaign zero lot, more than anything there is frustration with dysfunction in washington. nobody can put their party had aside and actually -- party hat aside and actually work together.
vp pence: let me begin by saying we have been working with democrats on a lot of issues. it was a handful of days ago that the president signed a bipartisan water infrastructure bill that passed almost unanimously in the senate. it doesn't get nearly enough credit except maybe in playbook, but how long has it been since congress actually passed spending bills on time before the end of the fiscal year? the congress did that this year. that took bipartisan cooperation and strong presidential leadership to say. the president made it clear he didn't want another one of these big omnibus bills that he had to sign in one fell swoop, and so congress literally moved legislation in blocks and we funded the federal government. and it is something to be proud of and it gives evidence to the fact that we will be able to work productively with the democrat minority in the upcoming congress. and we will work with them on issues. i think infrastructure, there is no question the american people
elected a builder to be president of the united states of america and he wants to rebuild america's infrastructure. the president talks about a trillion dollar investment in infrastructure. and he is absolutely committed to working with both parties to accomplish that. vocational education is another one. we have got seven million job openings today in america. we have six million people looking for work. the challenge that we have in a economy thatmy, an is expending less quarter 3.5%, is workforce. everywhere i go i have businesses telling me we are hiring and expanding, it is difficult to find people. i think there is room to work on a bipartisan basis again with the democrat minority to forge policies, to expand vocational education. and this is a president who is
passionate about working people. he has made a tremendous connection to working people all across the country. he has great admiration for people who work with their hands and are involved in building trades and construction and a whole range of manufacturing jobs, and the president is absolutely committed to expanding vocational education all over the country to support a growing economy. jake: one thing you will have to sell congress on, moving to the space topic, is the creation of the space force which has drawn some skeptics on both sides of the aisle. you will have your work cut out for you, there. what is the argument that you need a new space force that you can do with any existing structures within the government? vp pence: space force is part of the president's vision for reinvigorating american leadership in space. so i would say jake and anna, the first thing is to understand when we were on the campaign trail two years ago, the president asked me if i
would be willing if i was elected vice president to chair a newly reconstituted national space council. if you remember in history up until about 25 years ago, the vice president chaired the national space council and oversaw space policy. i jumped at the chance. you are talking to somebody, karen and i took our kids to cape canaveral for vacation just so we could go see the rockets. when i was in congress, i served for a time on the nasa subcommittee, the science committee, and attended several launches with some of our most noteworthy astronauts. i will always count it a great privilege that i was with neil armstrong with my daughter. i have a real passion like most people in my generation do who grew up as kids in the 1960's watching those black and white televisions for the inspirational power of american leadership in space and the human exploration in space.
and i think what president trump has observed is that for all the merits of the international space station, for all the merits of lower earth orbit development, that what we need to do is expand policies which we have been doing through changes in regulation of space traffic, to allow private companies to have access for the purposes of space tourism, satellite maintenance, space mining, allow them in that space between here and the moon, and then have america and nasa once again lead in human exploration, and the president's already signed a presidential directive saying we are going back to the moon and from the moon we are going to mars. and frankly, we are working with some leading companies in the country today to develop those new platforms. i think it is a great source of frustration to americans that we cannot put american astronauts in space for the last several years. we grounded the shuttle program.
, i'm going to say in 2015. and the idea was we were going to come up with a new platform quickly, we just didn't do that. didn't do that, so we hitch a ride with the russians, and we pay about $85 billion a seat to go up very very soon we will be test launching our new platform. it will take american astronauts back into space from american soil. i think president trump, who is, ,e is a go higher, further faster person, he has a tremendous passion. that, down to your question, we have got to have security. we got to make sure we recognize we have got to be as dominant insecurity in space as on earth. the president believes the next
natural evolution in american national security is the establishment of united states space force, department of the united states space force which will be equal to the other branches of the armed forces and we will launch that in the natural -- national defense authorization bill. the president is prepared to take steps to reorganize and centralize our command structure. we are already heavily invested in security and we have thousands of people across a range of agencies, intelligence and defense who are involved and systems,ng the defense security. what the president believes, the time has come to ring america under one -- bring america under one umbrella. much in the way they are force was formed in the aftermath of world war ii, we begin the process of standing up a new
department that will ensure american security in space even as we lead the world farther and faster. out: you haven't ruled nuclear weapons in space. if we do engage in a new military space race, what is the way to avoid war? vp pence: there is a space race which bans message -- weapons of mass destruction. there was no intention to change that in any way, shape or form. when i was asked about ruling in, ruling out, not much about saying what we will never do. requiresconstitution that we provide for the common defense before we promote the general welfare. but the objective here would be
that we first recognize that space is already a war fighting domain. you can argue sputnik orbited beenarth and space has militarized. frankly of all of the military systems today and that of our competitors and prudential adversary -- potential protecting those satellites and having the ability to secure them to make sure we have one -- those technologies protected and we have offensive capabilities has got to be critical to what we do. other natures of the world are already doing this. china tested a space-based missile that took out one of their satellites to demonstrate that they could do it. other countries are testing new satellite systems that have the ability to move closer to an
approximate of others satellites test with disrupting intent presumably. we have to stay in the forefront, be dominant for security. but we have a firm commitment to abide by that treaty, continue to. the objective is we secure. spac so we can carrye liberty into the beyond. jake: time is almost out. i don't want to get gift offstage. -- yanked offstage. you were one of the most fervent advocate for freedom rights and what you sponsored the shield law and you were a fervent advocate purity set in 2005 when you testified you said you were a conservative who believed in limited government and that the only check is a free and
differentt branch from the enemy of the people narrative coming out of the president. i think it is curious. onlynce: i do believe the check is the free and independent press. was enshrined in our ill of americanhe core of the founding and the american principle. let me say president trump believes that as well. unquestionably. he believes in freedom of the press. this is a president who part of his career was in the media. he has great respect for the role of the press. his complaint, and it is often mischaracterized not by you, but he says the fake news is the problem, not the news. things that are projected, things that are articulated that
are knowingly false or with reckless disregard for the truth that end up creating wrong impressions for people. that is -- the president has a right to express himself about the media every inch as the indymedia -- inch as the media. but calling on members of the press to be more careful. objectivity, for to put the facts out, let people know what is happening. too often we see editorials making their way onto the front page, not listed as editorials. headlines like we saw that when a man is sending the threats and devices in the mail, threatening public
figures, one headline didn't threat perpetrator captured. it actually made reference to president trump in the headline. this individual in some respect associated himself or was allegedly a supporter of ours. the president is no more responsible for this person's criminal behavior that bernie sanders was for the man who opened fire on a republican baseball team. of the me was an example media going too far and going in to creating an association instead of reporting the straight facts. there are many examples. network, one cable there was a commentator who said the president had radicalized more people than isis. to compare --
[speaking simultaneously] good.ce: should have taken it all the way back. maybe they did. that kind of commentary going unchecked in real-time does not serve the public interest. so absolutely president trump and i are committed to a free and independent press. we are free -- committed to the freedom of speech and the public to call out the press when we think they are not calling it straight. anna: the president seems very firm on having a fight over the border wall in december. can you project what that might look like? do you think it will be a shutdown? vp pence: the two words he uses often are we will see. >> [laughter] vp pence: should we cancel holiday plans? -- i know you didn't
mean to be light about it, but it is no laughing matter. the american people, they know that the nation without borders is not a nation. they know that we have got to secure our border. a wall,it is building having a physical barrier. another part is making sure our border agents have resources and support that they need. another part is reforming the loss, ending catch and release, changing the laws and considering changes like those we were talking about earlier. it also means internal enforcement. it also means changing the laws in the marketplace so companies by havingfit openly people come into this country in violation of the law. we have got to fix a broken immigration system. the president does believe it begins with order security first. saying to this congress that we
need funding for the wall, we have to have funding for the wall is something the president has been saying for the last two years. we will have that funding before christmas arrives. jake: last question, yes or no because that would will let you go. support -- we will have leadership elections in the house, do you support kevin mccarthy to be the next leader? vp pence: i support having a republican speaker of the house. jake: we know that. vp pence: i was in leadership in the house. jake: i was there. have a lot of campaigning with kevin mccarthy. he is outstanding and has done a tremendous job as majority leader of the congress. there are others who have expressed interest in that. having run for leadership in congress -- iran wants and lost -- i ran once and lost, then i
ran once and was elected conference chairman. we believe the decisions about leadership to the men and women elected.ted -- you are we are committed to do everything in our power and every hour between now and when the polls close to make sure that they are voting for the next republican speaker of the house. will you be on the ticket for 2020? vp pence: it would be my greatest honor to serve a second term with this president. the last two years have been an incredible experience. people sometimes ask what i was thinking on inauguration day. on that stage. i was getting ready to raise my right hand. i tell people i think of my grandfather, richard michael cawley. i am michael richard pence.
he came to this country when he was about my son's age, came through ellis island, took the train to chicago, drove a bus for 40 years. i kept thinking what he would be thinking. he is gone 30 years. we were very close. i tell people i think he would have two thoughts, that irishmen would. number one, he would have been surprised. >> [laughter] vp pence: he knew me pretty well. the last thing is, i think my grandfather would have been looking down from glory ending he was right, not about me, but about this country. he left everything he loved, left family behind, took a one-way ticket on a boat across the atlantic. there is a legend in my family
that his mother said to him you need to go to america because there is a future there for you. there to think his grandson and in just the span of a generation would be standing on a platform being sworn in as the 48th vice president of the united states is a tribute to him and all the rest of it is a tribute to the fact that this is a great country, and we will make america great again. anna: thank you. we appreciate the time. thank you to lockheed for making this possible. thank you to all of you and audience and on the livestream. seven days, we will see what happens. thank you so much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
up, why can't we have a more, you know, normal life? that inte in the book one of the early chapters i say i would not have minded growing up in one house with one yard we changed our whole lives. that was what my parents thought they would do when they built a house in indiana. my mom planted three dogwood trees when we were born. we put our handprints in the cement. there are a much thought that would be where we lived forever in southern indianapolis. then obviously god has different plans for our life, and i am very grateful for the amazing opportunities and the privilege it has been to be in a public family and to serve in public life. i think that my parents have shown me how to take it all in stride and even at times when it
to be grateful for all of those challenges and how they make us those are as a family. "afterwords"watch on "book tv" on c-span 2. ♪ announcer 2: this week on "washington journal," we are looking at battleground states, the most competitive races of the midterm elections, minnesota, new york, california, pennsylvania, and florida. join us for a live campaign 2018: during "washington journal at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. pedro: we continue our look at battleground states, new york state being our focus. joining us from new york city is jeanne zaino. she is a political science professor. good morning. jeanne: good morning. pedro: what in your opinion would